Apr 292009

We tend to eat with the seasons.

The common statistic quoted is that the average distance grocery store produce travels before getting to us is 1500 miles and it can be weeks to months old by the time it reaches our refrigerators. No wonder it has a short shelf life once it gets to our home! Folks often comment on how the veggies from our farm last so much longer than what they have gotten from the store. Well, no wonder! Our produce is actually fresh!

Trucked-in produce has caused the mentality that almost anything is available anytime of year. Recipes that include fresh vegetables that do not ripen together are common. I came across one the other day that included asparagus and fresh tomatoes. Not going to happen locally… at least in our part of the country unless you are raising tomatoes in a hothouse. Think about a fresh lettuce salad with tomatoes and bell peppers. Lettuce is abundantly available this time of year, but tomatoes won’t be ripe in this area till sometime in July and peppers will be ready even later. But, folks think the tomatoes and lettuce go together because trucked in produce from different parts of the world has made it seem normal.

Areas that have longer day lengths and cooler average temperatures than we do, can generally grow a wider variety of produce so they could possibly have tomatoes and lettuce available at the same time, but it’s not going to happen in this area unless, as I said, the tomatoes are grown in a hothouse.

It makes sense to me that the natural rhythm of life would include eating with the seasons. Eating whatever is in abundance throughout the year. Then if there is still extra, preserving the abundance for use during time of the year when there is less variety available. This also helps us eat foods produced locally, cutting down on the amount of food we purchase from shipped-in sources. Variety is nice, so we do purchase some foods that are not available locally. But if push came to shove, we would do fine eating seasonally and locally.

It might be of interest to you to see what is in abundance here on the farm from time to time, so to that end, I will write, on occasion, a seasonal eating post. Something to give you idea of how you may be able to incorporate more seasonal and local eating in your diet.

Springtime is a time when greens and eggs are in abundance. One of my favorite meals this time of year is a beautiful green salad with hard boiled eggs. Delicious! Our bodies seem to crave “green” this time of year. It has been months since we could enjoy fresh greens from the garden and they taste so good!

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Supper is the only meal we cook everyday. Lunch is leftovers, breakfast is either leftovers, something you cook for yourself, homemade granola or breakfast bars that I also try to keep made ahead. We have eggs as the main protein in our supper meal three to four days a week this time of year. Sometimes, with so many greens and eggs available, I have to get creative.

Frittatas, breakfast burritos, strata, fried rice with eggs as the main protein, pancakes with fresh side, fried eggs and a green salad are other ways I’ve found to use the abundance.

Fried rice with mustard greens and green garlic was the main dish the other night. We often eat late during the summer. It doesn’t get dark till late so we take advantage of the daylight and work outside as long as it’s light, coming in for a snack if we get hungry before supper. It’s difficult to get a good photo indoors when everyone is tired and hungry – not wanting to wait for a photo to be taken of their supper before they can eat… but here it is…

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This tasted a lot better than it looks in the photo! :-)

I like the eggs in fried rice to be chunky so I scramble the eggs separately and put them on top of the rice with the greens.

I’d love to know your favorite ways to use eggs and greens this time of year. Leave your ideas in the comments section if you have time to share.

Happy Springtime!

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